New supreme military commander for Somalia


Somalia named a new military supreme commander, a deputy head of intelligence services and head of presidential security as part of a revamp of security forces to better tackle the Islamist militant threat.

Diplomats worry without strong, corruption-free security forces, al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants could be reinvigorated, destabilising the region and offering safe haven to other jihadist groups including Islamic State.

State-run radio said President Mohamed Abdullahi appointed Dahir Adan Ilmi as commander of the Somali National Army and Fahad Yasin as deputy director of the National Intelligence Security Agency.

No reason was given for the changes. The Horn of Africa country is striving to overhaul its security forces, especially the army, that have drawn accusations of corruption from Somalia’s international donors.

Last year, the United States suspended food and fuel aid for most of Somalia’s armed forces for alleged graft in frustration at the failure of successive Somali governments to build a viable national army.

State-run radio said Abdullahi also appointed Amina Saiid Ali as director of presidential security. She is the first woman to hold the position.

Somalia suffered from lawlessness and armed conflict since 1991. Al Shabaab is fighting to oust the Western-backed central government in Mogadishu, which is protected by African Union peacekeepers and install a government based on its strict interpretation of sharia (Islamic law).

The militants killed thousands of Somalis and hundreds of civilians across East Africa in a decade-long insurgency.